Little bits of paper with monetary value...
May 22, 2006 7:08 PM   Subscribe

How can I deposit a check made out to an as-yet-nonexistent business entity rather than to me personally?

I operate as a freelancer under a particular "business" moniker ( "Acme Development," for sake of argument). I haven't yet gotten around to establishing an LLC or a corporation with that name. Despite instructions on my invoices indicating that checks should be made payable to me personally, a client has mailed a check payable to "Acme Development." Can I get my bank to deposit this somehow, or do I need to get the client to reissue the check?

I'd prefer to avoid asking the client to reissue the check, if possible.
posted by killdevil to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You might get away with it if you have business cards with your name and the company name. I was once in a similar situation and when I showed them my card, they agreed to let me sign the cheque over to myself. I had been banking at this small bank for years, though. Not sure how well this would work at a big, impersonal bank
posted by astruc at 7:34 PM on May 22, 2006

If you register a DBA (doing business under assumed name) form with your county (usually costs around $25), you can add the business name to the bank account, or just bring in a copy of the form with your check.

It's probably a good idea to register your business name anyway, so why not use this as an excuse?
posted by fvox13 at 7:39 PM on May 22, 2006

Just a warning, as someone who went through the DBA thing in LA specifically to deal with the occasional inattentive client who made out a check to my zine's name rather than mine: now I get regular and baffling bills from the City Tax office, this despite the fact that the zine does not turn a profit. If I had it to do over, I would have asked for the check to be reissued.
posted by Scram at 8:06 PM on May 22, 2006

I registered a DBA in Los Angeles in 99 or 2000 and never got anything from the tax board. I opened a back account with it, cashed a check, and eventually closed the account years later when I moved on.

The only downside to the DBA thing was that it was probably a week from start to finish to getting my new bank account (the bank required that a business check be cashed into a DBA account, or I wouldn't have ever become a DBA).
posted by mathowie at 8:11 PM on May 22, 2006

If you're going to register as a sole proprietorship, you ought to look into forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company) to protect you from too much legal liability.

This would have a tax impact, though (it's taxed separately), so don't do it without knowing what you're getting into. But I'd urge you to look into it, unless you're confident no one would ever try to sue you or whatnot.
posted by fogster at 9:17 PM on May 22, 2006

I recently asked this same question. Perhaps my experience will help you.
posted by acoutu at 9:33 PM on May 22, 2006

It depends on the clerk and most will just cash it for you if you just tell them it's your business. You can just sign it and stick in the mail for a deposit. Or deposit at an ATM.

I've done all of the above with checks made out to my business, and several bands. Hell, the bands never had a DBA. One time a former landlord put a contract on the back of the security deposit return check! In order to endorse the check, we had to sign his tiny agreement on the back. I just deposited it in an ATM with no endorsement. It cleared.

The system is a lot more lax than you think.
posted by nonmyopicdave at 11:05 PM on May 22, 2006

I've deposited checks made out to weird variants in an ATM and never ever had a problem. I sincerely doubt it would be a problem. Were I in your shoes, I would just sign it "[My name here] for Acme Development" and deposit it at an ATM. If it gets kicked back to you, then you can worry about registering for a sole proprietorship or getting them to reissue it, but it will probably never get that far.
posted by raf at 5:39 AM on May 23, 2006

If you're friendly with your bank, you should have no problem. If you're not friendly with your bank, I recommend you remedy that situation to avoid future difficulties. Chocolate chip cookies are especially effective.
posted by waldo at 6:39 AM on May 23, 2006

« Older Swordfish = Worms!?   |   What would ELLIOTT YAMIN do? (for listening to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.